Her Legacy – Know Thy Greatness
By Artist Yvette Michele, Pompano Beach, FL
“African American history and the contributions throughout the years have been many. We have to begin to pay homage to our ancestors who were here before us, and let me tell you why. A wise man told me that if you want to go forward and move ahead you got to to know where you came from. “These are the words from an introduction speech that the late Idella Grissett giving honor to the legacy of ‘The Know Thy Greatness’ exhibit in Pompano Beach.
It was all of her greatest love in this moment because the audience was comprised of future leaders (the youth), Pompano Beach community, family members and most cherished her father “Bo” Terry Holloway. She introduced him with pride for his contributions as a cultural artist for the exhibition and because he was also her foundation in her quest for knowledge to embrace her heritage. Her footprints are imprinted on this earth for preservation of African American History, bringing cultures together, and the recognition all of the arts.
With honor I was invited to sit with her family and friends to learn more about Grissett’s legacy. As a child she showed no fear – stand up and stand out personality. Her aunt Yolonda shared that, “She gladly performed and MC’d her family reunions”. Her grandfather Bishop Grissett reflected on her motherhood and value of family. He said, “She meant what she said”, when it comes to discipline and recognition of elders it was more than recognition but an embracing the relationship with love and hugs. Her mother passed away when she was very young and was lovingly raised by her grandparents. This is the root of her foundation as a God Woman and their legacy to instilling life long values that have been reflected in all that knew or came in contact with her.
Long time colleague, Lynn Brown shared that she was ambitious, determined and a free spirit. She was a larger than life personality and that she was the daughter that returned back home to uplift her community. The first of many projects they worked on together was the “Festival of Praise” featuring Donnie McClurkin. She wanted to showcase and show Pompano Beach that it was worthy of headliners and world class performances.
She is known as the angel of Pompano because she loved her community and not only wanted Pompano Beach to be on the world map but made it her personal mission to do so. This sentiment was echoed from all that have shared information for this article. Friend and colleague Sharon McCormick, Director of the Pompano Beach CRA said “She had such BIG ideas!, She could take a nugget and make it into something so beautiful. She treated everyone the same respect, embracing all cultures while loving her own, and would make something from nothing.”
It is clear that her footsteps were ordered and that she understood them. The following biographical synopsis was shared from her family as a glimpse of her accomplishments to what makes her a pillar in the community:
“Successful Business Attraction Marketing and Economic Development initiatives require an interdisciplinary perspective, which is just what Idella brings to the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. Idella Grissett is an agent of change.
As the Cultural Communications & Business Development Director of Pompano Beach CRA, she stands with the redevelopment agency and community leaders assisting as they chart their way forward in bridging the community and building economic growth.
Ms. Grissett specializes in connecting the dots between the community and brands through producing live events as well as interactive empowerment programs with impactful results. She plans and cultivates fundraising campaigns and communication outreach strategies across the cultural arts spectrum.
From the trenches to boardrooms, Idella has a rich public/nonprofit background in developing audience engagement plans that delivers branded entertainment programs for media companies like United Front Media and Freemantle TV.
Prior to joining Pompano Beach CRA, Idella began her professional career as a planner in the City of Atlanta where she developed a sound understanding of business development practices and gained extensive experience crafting unique pop up events for luxury brands, as well as the national civic organization (SCLC) Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology, with a concentration in Drama and Theater from Morris Brown, a historical Black college located in Atlanta. “
Because Ms. Grissett made her transition young, I asked each person that I spoke with that if she had a time capsule what would be inside of it. Very close and best friend Megan Aderele said these are the things that would be inside. “A notebook, books (she had a thirst for knowledge), Notes for her own personal qualities (listening, being a support by her presence, holding happiness, research, love of children).
These are her final words from the introduction speech at the “Know Thy Greatness “ exhibition
“Reach from the back and salute the past in our traditions, keep them in your hearts, and carry them onto the next generation.”
Idella Grissett’s Home Going celebration services are as follows:
Sunrise: July 22, 1978 -Sunset: April 29, 2018
The Viewing on Friday, May 11, from 6 to 9 p.m., at The Celebration of Life Services on Saturday May 12, at 11 a.m., at New Covenant Deliverance Cathedral 2404 Northwest 20 St., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dr. Ralph Grissett, Pastor.